Today the House unanimously passed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. H.R. 6 includes the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely (EPCS) Act and the Tribal Addiction and Recovery Act (TARA), both sponsored by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2).
“Oklahoma ranks second in the nation for the rate of opioid prescriptions,” said Mullin. “With doctors writing 710 prescriptions for every 1,000 individuals insured in Oklahoma in 2017, it is clear we need to bring more accountability to opioid prescribing. The EPCS Act mandates e-prescriptions for all controlled substances under Medicare Part D so prescriptions can be tracked electronically across state lines.
“I am also glad to see TARA included in this historic opioid legislation. Combatting the opioid crisis in Indian Country has been an uphill battle, due to American Indians and Alaska Natives having the highest overdose rates among minorities and chronic underfunding of tribal health. TARA will provide the resources needed to turn the tide of the opioid crisis in Indian Country.
“Our efforts to combat the opioid crisis do not end here,” continued Mullin. “Congress will continue our work with the Trump Administration to support the tribes and communities across the country battling the crisis next door.”
The EPCS Act would require electronic prescriptions for all controlled substances under Medicare Part D. The bill complements state law, which already requires doctors in Oklahoma to check an online database called the Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) when prescribing controlled substances to new patients. Mullin introduced H.R. 3528, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely (EPCS) Act on July 28, 2017 alongside Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA).
TARA creates a specific funding stream for tribes to fight addiction in their communities by streamlining government resources and grants for the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) community. Mullin introduced H.R. 5140, the Tribal Addiction and Recovery Act (TARA), on March 1, 2018.
H.R. 6 now heads to the Senate for consideration.